alexa The Media’s Role In Immigrant Adaptation: How First-Year Haitians In Miami Use The Media
Social & Political Sciences

Social & Political Sciences

Journal of Mass Communication & Journalism

Author(s): Michael Huspek

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SINCE THE EARLY 19TH CENTURY, THE BLACK PRESS HAS STOOD AS ALTERNATIVE TO the white mainstream pass (O'Kelly, 1982; Dates, 1990; Simmons, 1998; Hutton, 1993).. Today, at least 278 African-American owned and operated newspapers are printed across the United Sta., with a circulation approaching 13 million (Owens, 1999), a following perhaps second only to black churches (Mar-tindale and Dunlap, 1997). Despite its enduring role (Brooks, 1959; Oak, 1970; 0' Kelly, 1982; Wolseley, 1990; Pride and Wilson, 11,1997; Simmons, 1998), many media analysts exhibit a majoritarian bias, claiming that the alternative press "is not credible in the eyes of most Americans" (Bennett, 1993: 2), without explain-ing why this presumed circumstance exists. Is it due to a presumed deficiency of news coverage, or is it perhaps tied to the attitudes of "most Americans"? If the former is the case, what are the deficiencies? If the latter, how can we be certain that the majority's attitudes are well founded? The majoritarian view also tends to devalue the readership of the black press. Bennett's (1996: 19) throwaway remark reflects this: "when people turn to more pointed or radical sources, they become more isolated from the issues and per-spectives that shape public opinion and the political agenda in the mainstream media." The statement receives no empirical backing and it is not clear whether any might readily be found. One wonders if the author has not conflated cause and effect: Is it not more probable that feelings of frustration or anger toward dominant institutions (including the mainstream press) precede the turn to a minority press, perhaps even constituting its motivating basis as readers seek an antidoteV Others, like Jacobs (1996. 1998, 2000), have acknowledged the significance of the black press

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This article was published in Journalism &Communcation Monographs and referenced in Journal of Mass Communication & Journalism

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